Alan Simpson: Lynne Cheney told me to ‘shut up’

Former Republican senator Alan Simpson told the Casper Star-Tribune that former second lady Lynne Cheney told him over the weekend to "shut up."

The situation appears to stem from Simpson's support for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) in his primary campaign against Cheney's daughter, Liz Cheney -- though the Cheneys say it has to do with Simpson disrespecting them at a recent fundraiser.

Here's more from the Star-Tribune:

“She just said, ‘Shut up,’” Simpson said during an interview with the Casper Star-Tribune on Tuesday. “You can just read into it what you want to. I don’t know what she meant. She was very intense.”

...

Liz Cheney staffer Kara Ahern emailed a statement Tuesday night from Lynne Cheney, saying her exchange with Simpson harkened back to a previous interaction with him at a fundraiser in Laramie.

“The conversation was not about Mike Enzi,” the statement said.

Simpson’s daughter-in-law, Deb Oakley Simpson, posted a comment on her Facebook page the night of the Cody reception about the exchange. “I believe the direct quote was ‘shut your mouth’ regarding his support of Mike Enzi,” she wrote. Deb Simpson later told the Star-Tribune she was describing the comment second-hand.

But Ahern disputed the Facebook account. Ahern said Deb Simpson wasn’t present during the conversation. Ahern released a statement on Monday attributed to Lynne Cheney that said Lynne loved Alan Simpson and his wife.

“We have been friends for over 40 years,” the statement said. “As to the story posted on Facebook, I have to admit I am at a bit of a loss. That simply did not happen.”

Simpson said the conversation was animated and people were looking at them. “It disintegrated for the both of us,” he said.

...

Simpson said the Cheneys overheard his wife say during (an) event that the couple was backing Enzi. At the same event, Liz Cheney’s daughter presented a football to dignitaries and asked them to sign it. Simpson said he declined.

“I have signed footballs which have then been used for some other purpose, a charity or campaign or something,” he said.

Simpson said he asked Liz Cheney’s daughter if the football was going to be used for campaign purposes and she said she didn’t know.

“And that’s when Lynne and [Liz’s staffer] said, ‘Do you think we would use it for a political fundraiser?’ I said, ‘I don’t know. That has happened several times in my life.’ And that obviously set off something,” Simpson said.

Lynne Cheney, in the statement released Tuesday night, said that Simpson’s behavior in Laramie prompted the discussion on Saturday in Cody.

“It was about Al’s blowup at the FMC event in Laramie, when my 15-year-old granddaughter asked him to sign a football to be used to raise money for cancer patients in Rock Springs,” the statement said. “Al was rude to my granddaughter and I told him he was out of line. The topic was not Mike Enzi.”

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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Aaron Blake · September 25, 2013